In the town called Mindo, we visited a chocolate company and took a tour to learn how they process their beans.
In cooperation with the Oregon University System, Linfield College provides an opportunity for students to spend a semester either at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito or at the university's center in the Galapagos Islands' the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences.
Ecuador, with a population of 13 million (a majority being a mixture of indigenous and Spanish peoples), and bordering with Colombia and Peru, offers a unique topographic diversity from the jungle to the mountains (the highest volcano, Chimborazo stands at 6310 meters), the coast, and the Galapagos, 600 miles west of the mainland. Ecuador has more active volcanoes, as well as a greater diversity of volcanoes than any other country in the world. Quito, with a population of 1.2 million (other principal cities being Guayaquil and Cuenca) is located in the province of Pichincha in the north. The Galapagos, a national protectorate declared a World Heritage by UNESCO, is mostly a National Park offering a life-time wildlife experience for visitors and a natural learning laboratory for scientists and ecologists.
The Universidad San Francisco de Quito provides unique opportunities for integration into regular classes of the university (all taught in Spanish) with Ecuadorian and international students. USFQ is a private, non-denominational liberal arts institution of 3500 undergraduates, including 700 international students. Because of its state of the art laboratory facilities, Linfield encourages science majors to consider this program as a way to integrate international study into their science curriculum. It provides excellent support for students who wish to enhance their Spanish proficiency while at the same time taking classes from the university's regular curriculum. Two years of college-level Spanish is required prior to study at USFQ. (www.usfq.edu.ec).
The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences is situated in a newly renovated airy and spacious facility of USFQ overlooking the bay of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital city of the Galapagos Archipelago on the island of San Cristobal. Even though instruction at the institute is in English, Linfield requires one year of Spanish for participants so that they can appreciate the local community more fully and engage in cultural activities. Semester-long courses are offered in Human Ecology and Marine Communities, Evolutionary Biology, Native and Introduced Plants, Population Ecology and Marine Life. Each program consists of five intensive courses, all taught in three-week modules and worth 3-credits each. Upon their arrival, students will study at the USFQ’s main campus in Quito where they will take their first module. They spend the remainder of the semester to complete four modules at the GAIAS campus in the Island of San Cristobal, Galapagos.
Students are encouraged to engage in community service as part of their study at the GAIAS in such areas as pest control, waste management, introduced species control, in day care centers and in local schools. (www.usfq.edu.ec/GAIAS)
Almost every person living in the Galapagos Islands is aware of their fragile environment in which they live in and they respect nature and other living organisms. Living in the Galapagos Islands for 3 months was truly a blessing, and an amazing opportunity. I cannot wait to return. Joey Gale ‘14
If I just think about “Ecuador” then I don’t know where to start or how to begin to explain such a big, important piece of my present self, especially because I haven’t really been able to process it all within my own self yet…I think that might be the work of a lifetime. Ecuador was amazing and hard; I’m glad I went and I won’t ever be the same (the specifics of that fact are still working themselves out as I continue to readjust to being in the USA again). But it’s an incredible place to explore!! Lexy Chapman '15
Family: please, please make an effort to know your family. They can be your best source of info, chances to practice Spanish and of course, friends. They know the best restaurants (and recipes), dance clubs and places to visit. They can be your guide to Ecuadorium humor or a shoulder to cry on when the stress of being so far from home gets to you. Ecua families are the best!
Culture: dive in feet-first and don't think about it too much. There will be some things you don't like (eg getting catcalled on the street no matter what you are wearing) and some things you'll fall in love with: the importance of family, the willingness of people to help and many more things I'll let you discover for yourself. Try new foods, meet new people and immerse yourself in Ecuador! Kiana Ringuette '17
Organized field trips and cultural activities supplement coursework in both Quito and the Galapagos
Dates: Fall (end of August to mid-Dec.) or spring (beginning of January to mid-May) semesters, or students majoring in Spanish may elect to stay the full academic year in Quito.
Curriculum: University courses.
Selection Criterium: A minimum of 2.75 GPA is required for Quito or Galapagos and sophomore standing for both. At the time of application, two years of college level Spanish is required to study at USFQ in Quito and one year to study at the GAIAS.
QUITO: All participants are required to take or audit the appropriate level of Spanish in the semester directly preceding their study abroad in Quito, Ecuador.
GAIAS: There are several tracks of study: For students applying to the "Evolution, Ecology & Conservation in Galapagos" or "Marine Ecology" programs, one course each in general biology and ecology is required. For "People, Politics and the Environment in the Galapagos", one year of Spanish is required and Spanish language skills at an intermediate-level are highly recommended. Check our their website for more details.
Housing: In Quito, participants live with families and share all meals with them. At the GAIAS center, students choose to live either at the institute or with families arranged by the university.
Orientation: Participants to both programs must attend mandatory pre-departure orientations organized by Linfield (in March) and by the Oregon University System (May for fall; and November for spring).